Coconut Oil: Hero or Villain?


The promises made by coconut oil enthusiasts have cholesterol- conscious folks confused. Is it truly an awesome oil — or just a fatty fad? Here’s what the experts say.

  • Does it lower bad LDL cholesterol? No. In a small recent study, women ate about 2 tablespoons of either coconut oil or safflower oil daily for four weeks. Coconut oil actually raised LDL levels significantly more than safflower oil.
  • Does it raise good HDL cholesterol? Yes. In another recent study, volunteers ate 3 1/2 tablespoons of either coconut oil, olive oil, or butter every day for four weeks to find out which raised HDL the most. Coconut oil won.

But raising HDL doesn’t necessarily make coconut oil healthy. The American Heart Association advises against using coconut oil because it raises LDL, a major cause of heart disease.

“Don’t eat it,” says Dr. Stephen Kopecky in a Mayo Clinic Minute feature. “It really does raise your bad cholesterol.”

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  • FC&A Staff Writer